The Role of the School Environment in Relational Aggression and Victimization
- 2.1k Downloads
Research conducted over the last decade has documented both the high rates of and serious consequences associated with both victimization and perpetration of relational aggression. This study examines risk for involvement in relational aggression and victimization among middle school youth, evaluating both individual beliefs about violence, as well as aspects of the school environment, including interpersonal school climate and school responsiveness to violence. A sample of 5,625 primarily urban minority middle school youth (49.2 % female) participating in a violence prevention project completed measures of relational aggression and victimization as well as indicators of individual beliefs about aggression, school norms for aggression, student–teacher and student–student interpersonal climate, and school responsiveness to violence. Unlike results previously found for physical aggression, no school-level indicator of climate was related to relational aggression or victimization. However, individual beliefs about aggression and individual perceptions of the school environment were related strongly to both the perpetration of and victimization by relational aggression. These results suggest not only that individual beliefs and perceptions of the school environment are important in understanding perpetration and victimization of relational aggression, but also that risk for involvement in relational aggression is distinct from that of physical aggression. Implications for school interventions are discussed, as well as suggestions for future research.
KeywordsRelational aggression Relational victimization School climate
- Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Bjorkqvist, K., Osterman, K., & Kaukiainen, A. (1992). The development of direct and indirect aggressive strategies in males and females. In K. Bjorkqvist, & P. Niemela (Eds.), Of mice and women. Aspects of female aggression (pp. 51–64). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Card, N. A., Stucky, B. D., Sawalani, G. M., & Little, T. D. (2008). Direct and indirect aggression during childhood and adolescence: A meta-analytic review of gender differences, intercorrelations, and relations to maladjustment. Child Development, 79, 1185–1229. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01184.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Casey-Cannon, S., Hayward, C., & Gowen, K. (2001). Middle-school girls’ reports of peer victimization: Concerns, consequences, and implications. Professional School Counseling, 5, 138–147.Google Scholar
- Cialdini, R. B., Kallgren, C. A., & Reno, R. R. (1991). A focus theory of normative conduct: A theoretical refinement and reevaluation of the role of norms in human behavior. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 201–234). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Crick, N. R., Werner, N. E., Casas, J. F., O’Brien, K. M., Nelson, D. A., Grotpeter, J. K., et al. (1999b). Childhood aggression and gender: A new look at an old problem. In D. Bernstein (Ed.), The Nebraska symposium on motivation, gender and motivation (Vol. 45, pp. 75–141). Omaha: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
- Crockett, L. J., & Petersen, A. C. (1993). Adolescent development: Health risks and opportunities for health promotion. In S. G. Millstein, A. C. Petersen, & E. O. Nightingale (Eds.), Promoting the health of adolescents: New directions for the twenty-first century (pp. 13–37). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Cullerton-Sen, C., & Crick, N. R. (2005). Understanding the effects of physical and relational victimization: The utility of multiple perspectives in predicting social–emotional adjustment. School Psychology Review, 34, 147–160.Google Scholar
- Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Edstrom, L. V., MacKenzie, E. P., & Broderick, C. J. (2005). Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the steps to respect program. Developmental Psychology, 41, 479–491. doi:10.1037/0012-16220.127.116.119.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Guerra, N. G., Huesmann, L. R., & Hanish, L. (1994). The role of normative beliefs in children’s social behavior. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology, development and social psychology: The interface (pp. 140–158). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Henry, D. B., Dymnicki, A. B., Schoeny, M. E., Meyer, A. C., Martin, N. C., & the Multisite Violence Prevention Project (in press). Middle school students overestimate normative support for aggression and underestimate normative support for non-violent problem-solving strategies. Journal of Applied Social Psychology.Google Scholar
- Huesmann, L. R. (1988). An information processing model for the development of aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 14, 13–24. doi:10.1002/1098-2337(1988)14:1<13:AID-AB2480140104>3.0.CO;2-J.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Low, S., Frey, K. S., & Brockman, C. J. (2010). Gossip on the playground: Changes associated with universal intervention, retaliation beliefs, and supportive friends. School Psychology Review, 39(4), 536–551.Google Scholar
- Maccoby, E. E. (1998). The two sexes: Growing up apart, coming together. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Meyer, A. L., Allison, K. W., Reese, L. E., Gay, F. N., & The Multisite Violence Prevention Project. (2004). Choosing to be violence free in middle school: The student component of the GREAT schools and families universal program. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 26, 20–29. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2003.09.014.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Miller-Johnson, S., Sullivan, T. N., Simon, T. R., & The Multisite Violence Prevention Project. (2004). Evaluating the impact of interventions in the multisite violence prevention study: Samples, procedures, and measures. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 26, 48–61. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2003.09.015.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Onishi, A. Kawabata, Y. Kurokawa, M., & Yoshida, T. (2011). A mediating model of relational aggression, narcissistic orientations, guilt feelings, and perceived classroom norms. School Psychology International, 0(0), 1–24. doi:10.1177/0143034311421433.
- Orpinas, P., Horne, A. M., & The Multisite Violence Prevention Project. (2004). A teacher-focused approach to prevent and reduce students? Aggressive behavior: The GREAT teacher program. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 26, 29–38. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2003.09.016.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Savin-Williams, R. C., & Berndt, T. J. (1990). Friendship and peer relationships. In S. S. Feldman & G. R. Elliott (Eds.), At the threshold: The developing adolescent (pp. 277–307). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Smith, E. P., Gorman-Smith, D., Quinn, W. H., Rabiner, D. L., Tolan, P. H., Winn, D., et al. (2004). Community-based multiple family groups to prevent and reduce violent and aggressive behavior: The GREAT families program. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 26(Supplement 1), 39–47. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2003.09.018.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Society for Prevention Research. Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. (2006). Retrieved from http://www.preventionscience.org/StandardsofEvidencebook.pdf.
- Sullivan, T. N., Farrell, A. D., & Kliewer, W. (2006). Peer victimization in early adolescence: Associations between physical and relational victimization and drug use, aggression, and delinquent behaviors among urban middle school students. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 119–137. doi:10.1017/S095457940606007X.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Underwood, M. K. (2003). Social aggression among girls. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- US Department of Education. (1999–2000). Public school teacher questionnaire: Schools and staffing survey—1999–2000 school year. Web site: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/.
- Vessels, G. (1998). Character and community development: A school planning and teacher training handbook. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Waasdorp, T. E., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2009). Child and parent perceptions of relational aggression within urban predominantly African American children’s friendships: Examining patterns of concordance. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18(6), 731–745. doi:10.1007/s10826-009-9279-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Yoon, J., & Kerber, K. (2003). Bullying: Elementary teachers’ attitudes and intervention strategies. Research in Education, 69, 27–35.Google Scholar
- Zelli, A., Dodge, K. A., Lochman, J. E., & Laird, L. D. (1999). The distinction between beliefs legitimizing aggression and deviant processing of social cues: Testing measurement validity and the hypothesis that biased processing mediates the effects of beliefs on aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 150–166. doi:10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.168.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar